The Autobiography of Malcolm X

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Overview

With its first great victory in the landmark Supreme Court decision, Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954, the Civil Rights movement gained the powerful momentum it needed to sweep forward into its crucial decade, the 1960s. As voices of protest and change rose above the din of history and false promises, one sounded more urgently, more passionately than the rest. Malcolm X - once called the most dangerous man in America - challenged the world to listen and learn the truth as he experienced it. And his enduring message is as relevant today as when he first delivered it. This is the first hardcover edition of this classic autobiography since it was originally published in 1964. In its searing pages, Malcolm X the Muslim leader, firebrand, and anti-integrationist, tells the extraordinary story of his life and the growth of the Black Muslim movement to veteran writer and journalist Alex Haley. In a unique collaboration, Alex Haley worked with Malcolm X for nearly two years, interviewing, listening to, and understanding the most controversial leader of his time. Raised in Lansing, Michigan, Malcolm Little's road to world fame was as astonishing as it was unpredictable. After drifting from childhood poverty to petty crime, Malcolm found himself in jail. It was there that he came into contact with the teachings of a little-known Black Muslim leader named Elijah Muhammed. The newly renamed Malcolm X devoted himself body and soul to the teachings of Elijah Muhammed and the world of Islam, and became the Nation's foremost spokesman. When his own conscience forced him to break with Elijah Muhammed, Malcolm founded the Organization of Afro-American Unity, to reach African Americans across the country with an inspiring message of pride, power, and self-determination. The Autobiography of Malcolm X defines American culture and the African-American struggle for social and economic equality that has now become a battle for survival. His fascinating perspective on the lies and

The absorbing personal story of the man who rose from hoodlum, thief, dope peddler and pimp to become the most dynamic leader of the Black Revolution, whose life was cut short by an assasin's bullets.

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Editorial Reviews

Sacred Fire
The Autobiography of Malcolm X is the story of one of the remarkable lives of the twentieth century. Malcolm X, as presented in this as-told-to autobiography, is a figure of almost mythic proportions; a man who sunk to the greatest depths of depravity and rose to become a man whose life's mission was to lead his people to freedom and strength. It provides a searing depiction of the deeply rooted issues of race and class in America and remains relevant and inspiring today. Malcolm X's story would inspire Alex Haley to write Roots, a novel that would, in turn, define the saga of a people.

Malcolm Little was born in Nebraska in 1925, the seventh child of Reverend Earl Little, a Baptist minister, and Louise Little, a mulatto born in Grenada to a black mother and a white father. Malcolm X quickly grew to hate the society he'd grown up in. After his father was killed, his mother was unfairly denied insurance coverage and his family fell apart. Young Malcolm went from a foster home to a reformatory, to shining shoes in the speakeasies and dance halls of Boston. After getting work as a Pullman porter, he went to New York and fell in love with Harlem. His stint as a drug dealer and petty crook landed him in jail, where he became a devout student of the Nation of Islam and Elijah Muhammad. That was when he figured out that "he could beat the white man better with his mind than he ever could with a club." Malcolm X's subsequent quest for knowledge and equality for blacks led to his unreserved commitment to the liberation of blacks in American society.

What makes this book extraordinary is the honesty with which Malcolm presents his life: Even as he regrets the mistakes he made as a young man, he brings his zoot-suited, swing-dancing, conk- haired Harlem youth to vivid life; even though he later turns away from the Nation of Islam, the strong faith he at one time in that sect's beliefs, a faith that redeemed him from prison and a life of crime, comes through. What made the man so extraordinary was his courageous insistence on finding the true path to his personal salvation and to the salvation of the people he loved, even when to stay on that path meant danger, alienation, and death.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791098325
  • Publisher: Facts on File, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/28/2008
  • Series: Bloom's Guides
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 173
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Harold Bloom
Harold Bloom
One of our most popular, respected, and controversial literary critics, Yale University professor Harold Bloom’s books – about, variously, Shakespeare, the Bible, and the classic literature – are as erudite as they are accessible.

Biography

"Authentic literature doesn't divide us," the scholar and literary critic Harold Bloom once said. "It addresses itself to the solitary individual or consciousness." Revered and sometimes reviled as a champion of the Western canon, Bloom insists on the importance of reading authors such as Shakespeare, Milton, and Chaucer -- not because they transmit certain approved cultural values, but because they transcend the limits of culture, and thus enlarge rather than constrict our sense of what it means to be human. As Bloom explained in an interview, "Shakespeare is the true multicultural author. He exists in all languages. He is put on the stage everywhere. Everyone feels that they are represented by him on the stage."

Bloom began his career by tackling the formidable legacy of T.S. Eliot, who had dismissed the English Romantic poets as undisciplined nature-worshippers. Bloom construed the Romantic poets' visions of immortality as rebellions against nature, and argued that an essentially Romantic imagination was still at work in the best modernist poets.

Having restored the Romantics to critical respectability, Bloom advanced a more general theory of poetry. His now-famous The Anxiety of Influence argued that any strong poem is a creative "misreading" of the poet's predecessor. The book raised, as the poet John Hollander wrote, "profound questions about... how the prior visions of other poems are, for a true poet, as powerful as his own dreams and as formative as his domestic childhood." In addition to developing this theory, Bloom wrote several books on sacred texts. In The Book of J, he suggested that some of the oldest parts of the Bible were written by a woman.

The Book of J was a bestseller, but it was the 1994 publication of The Western Canon that made the critic-scholar a household name. In it, Bloom decried what he called the "School of Resentment" and the use of political correctness as a basis for judging works of literature. His defense of the threatened canon formed, according to The New York Times, a "passionate demonstration of why some writers have triumphantly escaped the oblivion in which time buries almost all human effort."

Bloom placed Shakespeare along with Dante at the center of the Western canon, and he made another defense of Shakespeare's centrality with Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, an illuminating study of Shakespeare's plays. How to Read and Why (2000) revisited Shakespeare and other writers in the Bloom pantheon, and described the act of reading as both a spiritual exercise and an aesthetic pleasure.

Recently, Bloom took up another controversial stance when he attacked Harry Potter in an essay for The Wall Street Journal. His 2001 book Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages advanced an alternative to contemporary children's lit, with a collection of classic works of literature "worthy of rereading" by people of all ages.

The poet and editor David Lehman said that "while there are some critics who are known for a certain subtlety and a certain judiciousness, there are other critics... who radiate ferocious passion." Harold Bloom is a ferociously passionate reader for whom literary criticism is, as he puts it, "the art of making what is implicit in the text as finely explicit as possible."

Good To Know

Bloom earned his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1955 and was hired as a Yale faculty member that same year. In 1965, at the age of 35, he became one of the youngest scholars in Yale history to be appointed full professor in the department of English. He is now Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale and Berg Visiting Professor of English at New York University.

Though some conservative commentators embraced Bloom's canon as a return to traditional moral values, Bloom, who once styled himself "a Truman Democrat," dismisses attempts by both left- and right-wingers to politicize literature. "To read in the service of any ideology is not, in my judgment, to read at all," he told a New York Times interviewer.

His great affinity for Shakespeare has put Bloom in the unlikely position of stage actor on occasion; he has played his "literary hero," port-loving raconteur Sir John Falstaff, in three productions.

Bloom is married to Jeanne, a retired school psychologist whom he met while a junior faculty member at Yale in the 1950s. They have two sons.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Harold Irving Bloom (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      New York, New York and New Haven, Connecticut
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 11, 1930
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Cornell University, 1951; Ph.D., Yale University, 1955

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